Frequently Asked Questions
What is NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback and how does it work?
We are so excited to offer NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback at our clinic. Developed by two clinical psychologists, NeurOptimal® is a type of Neurofeedback that is used to help train the brain to function at its best. Our brains and bodies are constantly responding and adapting to our ever changing environment. Sometimes, during stressful or challenging life events, we develop unproductive brain patterns and physiological responses that influence the way we think, feel and behave. Our brains have the incredible ability to learn and change (this is called neuroplasticity), which means that undesired patterns, that may have been present for many years, can be changed. By developing a more flexible and resilient mindset, our brains are better able to respond and adapt to changes, quicker and more appropriately, allowing us to face life’s challenges with more ease.
Who uses Neurofeedback?
NeurOptimal® is effortless brain training that can be used by children, teens and adults for a wide variety of reasons. It is designed to work with your individual brain and does not attempt to “fix” predetermined conditions. Benefits of regular NeurOptimal® training include, but are not limited to:
Mental and emotional wellness: NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback training can offer support to those dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation and helping to manage stress. Users have noted feeling less reactive and more at ease when responding to life’s challenges. Improved quality of sleep has also been reported.
Enhanced mental clarity and cognitive functioning: NeurOptimal® can help improve instruction following, concentration, problem solving, multi-tasking, resource management, logic, pattern-recognition and eye-hand coordination, which can make it a great tool in helping to manage ADHD. Some users have reported feeling more productive and focused as well as feeling more motivated and confident.
Enhanced peak physical and mental performance: Used by peak performing athletes and artists. NeurOptimal® helps to improve focus and clarity and maintain calm, which can help to reduce performance anxiety and help to excel in their chosen field. Academic performance can also be enhanced by improving concentration and mental focus.
What does a typical brain training session look like?
Two EEG leads will be placed on your scalp and three clips will be placed on your ears. As you listen to music or watch a movie, the EEG leads monitor the electrical activity within the brain on both the right and left hemispheres, simultaneously. The specially designed NeurOptimal® software detects any changes or differences in the electrical signals, which is an indication that the brain is about to make a change/shift and notifies the brain by briefly interrupting the music/audio you are listening to. These pauses invite the brain to return to the present moment and train your brain to be more calm and in control. You simply sit back and relax and let your brain do all the work.
There is nothing else you need to do. There is no need to control thoughts, emotions, concentration, think of anything in particular or do anything else to make it work better. By the time you have consciously registered the interruption in the music your brain has already responded to it and moved on. So, there is nothing you need to do, or can do, during the session that will improve outcomes. You are welcome sit quietly, read, sleep, finish homework, respond to emails, or even browse Facebook during your session. The actual session lasts 33 minutes, but plan for an hour appointment to allow set up time. Also note, the conductive gel we use to attach the leads can leave a bit of sticky on your scalp. We can usually get most of it out with wet wipes, but please plan ahead for activities after your brain training session.
Are there any side-effects?
Neurofeedback is 100% safe with no side effects. We're not putting anything into your brain, rather simply showing it how it's performing in real time and allowing it to decide what changes to make to perform optimally. Some clients have reported feeling slightly tired after their session while others feel more awake and energetic. Everyone is different.
How do I prepare for my brain training session?
No special preparation is required. Sensors are placed on your scalp and ears with a conductive, somewhat sticky paste. If you have long hair, its easiest to tie it back in a loose, low ponytail. We provide headphones, but you're welcome, and encouraged to bring your own ear buds with a standard headphone jack attachment, or wireless.
What is the cost of Neurofeedback and is it covered by insurance?
NeurOptimal® is FDA approved as a wellness device. For this reason insurance does not cover the cost of the sessions. Sessions in our clinic currently cost $50 each. We do offer discounts if multiple sessions are purchased in a package, which we strongly recommend, as the more sessions completely, the more the brain is able to learn and adapt.
How many sessions are required?
There is no one size fits all. The amount of sessions required varies depending on your individual goals. NeurOptimal® training is a learning process and with each progressive session, your brain learns a little more about itself. How quickly you start to notice changes depends on how quickly the brain is learning from the information it is receiving. Some people will start to notice small changes or shifts within 6-10 sessions while it may take others 15-20 sessions or more to notice the same benefits. Everyone is different. Keep in mind it takes your brain time to integrate what it's learning, months after completing sessions you may still slowly keep noticing additional benefits. Once your brain learns something though, it doesn't forget, so if you need to take a break from sessions, you can always pick back up where you left off. If you experience a challenging or extremely stressful time in your life, a few booster sessions may be required to remind the brain what it has learned and get back to functioning at its best.